After a driver was jailed for just six months for causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving, cycling charity CTC has again called for longer driving bans for those responsible for deaths on the roads.
Samuel Mason was sentenced to six months in a young offenders institute and banned from driving for 18 months for causing the death by careless driving of John Parkin on May 2, 2013, reports the Sheffield Telegraph.
CTC Road Justice campaigner Rhia Weston said this was “an incredibly light sentence for driving which was considered by the judge to be on the borderline with reckless or dangerous driving.”
Mr Parkin, 42, had just collected a new Colnago bike and was out on its maiden ride when he was hit by a black Toyota driven by Mr Mason, then aged 18.
Mr Parkin owned a car repair business and had ordered the new bike from Sheffield’s Langsett Cycles after getting back into cycling.
Shop owner Andrew Elston told the Sheffield Telegraph: “He had lost a bit of weight and was getting all the benefits,” said Andrew. “But he said he wasn’t going to pick up the new bike until the weather was right.”
The weather was right on May 2, the warmest day of the year, when Mr Parkin took his new bike out into the Peak District.
Mason was driving along the A6013 in the Peak village of Bamford when he passed a parked delivery van and turned into Brentwood Road, hitting Mr Parkin who was riding in the opposite direction.
Mason claimed he had not seen the cyclist, but a driver who was behind him told police she had seen Mr Parkin coming down the hill. Witnesses described Mason as looking impatient.
Mason pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at Derby Crown Court and must take an extended test before driving again.
In a statement, Mr Parkin’s wife Karen said: “John wasn’t just my husband, he was my best friend. We were so in love, and there wasn’t a day gone by when we didn’t say it or show it to each other.
“Our son James had just turned 21 in April and John was so proud of him. I feel so lost without him it feels like I died on May 2. I want the accused to know what they have taken from us. They will never get our forgiveness. They didn’t just take my husband and James’ dad, they took us as well.”
Judge John Pini QC told Mason : “I do not regard this as a momentary inattention, nearer to reckless risk taking. Mr Parkin was visible for 57 metres from where you were. Your miscalculation cost him his life. In the pre-sentence report there is not one single word of remorse or one expression of sympathy for the family of the deceased.”
On hearing news of Mr Parkin’s death, Colnago donated a bike which was raffled at last year’s Claremont Sheffield Grand Prix in aid of his family’s chosen charity, Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance.
CTC Road Justice campaigner Rhia Weston said: “This is an incredibly light sentence for driving which was considered by the judge to be on the borderline with reckless or dangerous driving. When the offence of ‘causing death by careless driving’ falls not far short of dangerous driving, judges can impose anything between six months and three years custody.
“The order to sit an extended re-test is not mandatory for this offence so it is encouraging that the judge ordered one in this case, but this should have been accompanied by a much longer driving ban.
“CTC’s Road Justice campaign is calling for much greater use of re-education, substantial driving bans and other non-custodial sentences to be used when sentencing drivers for similar offences.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.